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Mike Oldfield - Portsmouth CD (album) cover


Mike Oldfield


Crossover Prog

3.29 | 12 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Mike Oldfield's marvelous albums Hergest Ridge (1974) and Ommadawn (1975) were recorded in the countryside of Herefordshire where the introvert, young musician had escaped the sudden fame and success brought by Tubular Bells. As a freetime activity he used to go pony riding with folk musician Leslie Penning (one of the guest musicians on Ommadawn). The two collaborated on several folk oriented singles that Oldfield released in the following years; the next major work, double album Incantations, came out no sooner than in 1978.

'Portsmouth' is a joyful two-minute instrumental with a danceable rhythm. The innocently naive and happy melody is played by Leslie Penning's recorder, and Oldfield's simple, rhythmic acoustic guitar is joined by hand drum and accordion along the way. It's quite obvious that Oldfield just had a good time making this kind of simple folk music, without giving a slightest thought on the pressures of success. And it was very much about returning to his musical roots; he started his musical career in the age of fourteen playing folk with his elder sister Sally, as a duo called SALLYANGIE.

Four-minute 'Argiers' is also a recorder-centred folk piece but in minor and in a slow tempo. This tune stands much better the repeated listenings. It has a New Agey serenity, and it's up to the listener how melancholic one feels it to be. To me it's mostly soothing.

This charming but non-essential single is among the finest representations of the low-profile era in Oldfield's career between Ommadawn and Incantations. Both tracks are included on the 4-CD "Best of" box set Elements (1993) and on the Deluxe edition of Ommadawn (2010).

Matti | 3/5 |


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